BSC Office of Communications

News from the Hilltop

August 6 , 2007

Birmingham-Southern student choir concludes Central Europe tour to further foster connection with Czech Republic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern College Concert Choir, conducted by Lester Seigel, who is the Joseph Hugh Thomas Professor of Music at BSC, has recently returned from its first European tour in more than 20 years. The 26 singers performed in the Czech Republic and Austria earlier this summer.Choir in Prague

The program featured unusual works by Czech and Austrian composers and a selection of outstanding American works. Performances included stops at St. Nicholas Church in Prague, Czech Republic; Renaissance Town Hall in Pilsen, Czech Republic; Karlskirche, St. Charles Church, in Vienna, Austria; and the Palace Chapel, Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, in Austria.

The tour was planned in part to further the sister city relationship between Pilsen and Birmingham. The college has established a relationship with the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. Professor Jan Vicar of Prague, who taught at BSC as a visiting professor of music in 2006, assisted with arrangements.

In addition to these public performances, the choir visited Terezin near Prague, which is the site of the infamous Nazi concentration camp. There the men of the choir performed an impromptu concert on the grounds of the camp, including Czech songs composed by Gideon Klein, an inmate of the camp, which were performed there in the 1940s. The group also appeared in Clam-Galas Palace in Prague, where the choir was invited by the U.S. ambassador to perform as part of the opening ceremonies for an art exhibit titled “Views of Chicago.”

Choir members on the tour included Cori Anderson of Madison, Miss.; Tim Beenken of Vestavia; Ashley Blackwell, Elizabeth Ward, and Paul Ward of Huntsville; Shelby Bowling and Jessica Rushing of Mobile; Molly Bynum of Trussville; Richard Byrd and Richard Stump of Mountain Brook; Stephen Flowers of Leeds; Ashley Gilbert and Mary Patton Kyser of Montgomery; Amanda Kramer of Alabaster; Paul Litten of Bessemer; Jenna Lyle of Carrollton, Ga.; Kelley McGahey of Livingston; Patrick Scott of Picayune, Miss.; David Talley of Pleasant Grove; and Anna Underwood of Homewood.

Guest singers included BSC faculty member David Smith and BSC music alumni James Seay, Jane Seigel, Daniel Seigel, and Stan Nelson.

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